Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 1 Recap: Live Free or Die
Jul 17 2012 11:59 am ET
On the season premiere of Breaking Bad, there is minimal immediate fallout after the nursing home explosion. We learn the international symbol for keys, the power of magnets, and how Walt's descent into megalomania continues.
Previously on Breaking Bad: !!! More specifically, Gus Fring guaranteed Walter White's services by threatening to eliminate the rest of the White Family. Meanwhile, Skyler's one-time lover Ted Beneke crashed headfirst into a cabinet while dealing with Saul Goodman's hired goons. Jesse Pinkman's sorta girlfriend's son Brock had been poisoned, but only Walter knows the full story behind that. While Mike continues his recovery in a Mexican hospital after the annihilation of the cartel, Walt gets Tio Hector to sacrifice himself to eliminate Gus once and for all. Ding ding ding!
The episode begins at Denny's, the unofficial sponsor of breakfast after illegal activities. Whoever is eating breaks his bacon in half and forms the number 52 on his plate with the pieces. It's Walt, with his hair grown out and newer, hipster-y glasses. He makes a passing mention that it's his birthday and the waitress behind the bar says the meal is free. She asks to see his license to verify the birthday, but refers to Walt as Mr. Lambert and makes small talk about his New Hampshire identification. Walt does that polite restaurant chit-chat thing you do when you have a chatty server and all you want to do is eat your moons over my hammy or whatever.
A man enters the restaurant and heads to the restroom. Walt excuses himself from the conversation and casually moves to the restroom, also. A hand-off between the man and Walt takes place at the sink - keys and an envelope are swapped. "Good luck, I guess," the man says before leaving the restroom with the envelope. Before he leaves, Walt coughs a few times and takes a pill – just like he did when he was still in his cancer treatment. Walt takes the keys, leaves a $100 bill for the waitress (happy birthday indeed!) and goes out to the parking lot. Walt opens the trunk of a white Volvo with a New Hampshire license plate ("Live Free or Die") and takes out a duffel bag. He presses the car alarm button on the new keys to track down his new car. Walt opens the trunk of his new ride, which features some high-grade militia-type armaments. Walt finds room for his bag, then closes the trunk. There are no clues indicating if this is a flashback, flashforward, or if we now have an evil twin storyline developing. Uh, I guess Walt and not Lambert would be the evil one in this scenario…you know what I mean.
Back from the commercial, we rejoin the action in Albuquerque at the phone call between Skyler and Walt that ended last season's finale. Skyler asks if Walt had anything to do with the news that Gus was killed in the nursing home explosion and all he says is "I won." The conversation ends and Walt heads back to the house. He rushes to the kitchen to clean up his bomb-making equipment, dumping the garbage bag in the back of his Aztek. Walt pours himself a celebratory drink, but as he takes a sip he remembers he should dispose of the Lily of the Valley. He dumps that in the Aztek trunk as well.
Walt returns to his drink as Walt Jr, Skyler and Holly return home. Walt Jr can't believe his dad doesn't have the TV on watching the news about Gus. Walt tries to play it cool, but Jr is geeking out about the fact that the guy from Los Pollos Hermanos was a major drug dealer AND Uncle Hank's hunch about Fring was right on the money. Jr goes on to mention the one time Hank took him to the restaurant to meet Gus. A look of concern crosses Walt's face, one that suggests "if Gus knows Jr is my son, Jr is in danger." It's subtle, but I'm keeping it on the back burner in case something horrible happens to the boy at the end of the season/series.
Walt heads to the bedroom to check on Skyler. She's standing silently by the dresser, contemplating the events of the last 48 hours. Walt asks Skyler what's going on and wonders why she's so reserved. "I am relieved, Walt," she says, "and scared." "Scared of what?" He asks. "You." Skyler leaves the room as Walt sits on the end of the bed. A moment passes. "Oh shit!" Walt exclaims, standing up.
Hank, in a hazmat suit, is at the burnt out lab under the laundromat. A crew is there doing inventory, clean-up and investigation. Hank asks where the two bodies (the goons Walt killed while rescuing Jesse) are located. One of the techs says they are by the freight elevator. "Apparently teeth do this popcorn thing when they get too hot," the tech warns as Hank walks over. Thankfully, we don't get visual confirmation of this. Hank looks around some more and notices a stump of something hanging on the gangplank. Hank wonders aloud what that could be a part of. "A camera?" Uh oh.
Back in Mexico, Mike is getting some fresh air while feeding some chickens outside the hospital. The relaxation is short-lived as Mike receives word about what happened to Gus. He hops in his car and races down the one-lane road. Another car approaches in the opposite direction. Mike leans on the horn, but the other car doesn't budge. We get a landscape profile shot of the impending crash, but the two cars pass each other and spin out. Awesome. Walt and Jesse were in the second car. Walt exits his car and Mike exits his. Mike has his gun out and is about to pull the trigger and end this nonsense, but Jesse jumps in front of Walt before shots are fired. Jesse is able to get Mike to relent so Walt can ask where Gus stored the footage from the lab camera. Mike, exhausted by the duo's antics, says the footage is on Gus's laptop in the restaurant office. Mike walks over to the driver's side of Walt's car and makes a "gimme" gesture. "What?" Walt asks. "Keys, scumbag. It's the universal symbol for keys." I love Mike. The three guys are in the car speeding towards Albuquerque, but they might as well slow down: the laptop is currently bagged and tagged and on its way to APD Headquarters.
Back in the ABQ, Mike tries to get info from the APD regarding the whereabouts of the laptop. His ruse: an investigation involving mail fraud, which the USPS takes *very seriously*. As you might guess, it didn't work and Mike updates the group's status as "boned." "Describe the building," Walt says to Mike. Mike rolls his eyes, not wanting to indulge in another zany scheme. As Walt proposes different scientific ways of breaking into the police evidence locker and Mike shoots down every attempt to engage, Jesse keeps shouting from the background, "yo, what about a magnet?" The bickering continues until Jesse yells loud enough for the guys to hear his suggestion.
The trio head to a scrapyard and watch one of those giant crane magnets moving a car from one heap to another. Walt is intrigued and looks around for something to haul the magnet. He spots an abandoned, unlabeled U-Haul and asks the dealer if it is available. The dealer is on-board and the deal is about to go through. However, this is a cash transaction and Walt is short, thanks to Skyler's tax burden courtesy of Ted. Jesse agrees to front the money. As Walt and the dealer settle the terms, Jesse talks Mike into sticking around and working with them. Mike reluctantly agrees, despite how much this inconveniences his life.
Over at the
Back at the junkyard, the team is getting ready to test out Jesse's magnet idea. The deal tells everyone to remove all metal objects before starting the test. Walt tells the dealer his ring is gold and glasses are non-ferrous, because Walt is still that kind of nerd. The dealer repeats his warning, adding "including rings at the end of your pricks." He stares at Jesse. "What?" Jesse says, not sure why the dealer would assume that about him. Hehe. Jesse takes a laptop and stands about 40 feet away from the truck. Walt turns on the magnet. The truck lurches, the chassis responding to the pull. Nothing happens on the computer even as Walt turns up the power. Jesse slowly approaches the truck and after a few paces the screen jumbles and goes black. Jesse celebrates and the laptop escapes his hand and slams into the side of the truck before Walt turns off the device. "Yeah, bitch! MAGNETS!" I love Jesse, too. Walt asks the dealer for a few modifications to enhance the magnet, but it looks like the plan is a go.
An elevator opens and empties while Skyler stands in the back. She collects herself before exiting into a hospital hallway. She peeks into a room where an orderly tends to a patient. Skyler says she is looking for Ted and the orderly says she is in the right place. Ted is alive, but he is in one of those head trauma braces, his head shaved and a scar on his scalp. Ted can talk and tells Skyler he hasn't said anything other than it was an accident. Chances are this loose end is not completely tied up, but that's where things stand at the moment.
Nighttime outside the ABQ PHQ. Mike watches from a nearby van as a police car exits the gated lot. Once the coast is clear, Mike sprays a security camera with some obscuring material before hacking the gate lock. The gate opens and the U-Haul makes its way onto the lot. Walt navigates for Jesse and the truck gets into position. So far they haven't been detected. Walt turns on the magnet and starts to turn up the power. In the evidence locker, we watch as some of the metal objects react: a paper clip slides along a table, the lights' wire casings arc toward the wall, a tricycle rolls along the floor. The locker's guard's computer turns off as objects fly off the shelves and everything metal moves toward the exterior walls. Fring's computer is probably wiped at this point, but Walt decides to go for the gusto and turns the magnet up to the max. The magnetism pulls the truck to all the objects, wedging the now-tilted vehicle against the wall. The police are on red alert and head outside to see what's going on. They find the abandoned truck, but Walt and Jesse are already making the getaway as Mike drives off in the van. "How do we know it worked?" Mike asks Walt. "Because I say so," Walt responds. Mike gives Walt the rearview mirror equivalent of a sideways glance.
Later, the police are cleaning up the huge mess in the locker. They update the status of each item in the inventory, including new damages. One of the items is a framed photograph from Fring's office. The now-damaged frame allowed the picture inside to slip slightly, revealing some information about an off-shore account – information that was not on the original manifest for the item.
Saul meets with Walt to discuss the Whites' current financial status. He recaps the IRS snafu – Skyler cooked Beneke's books, the IRS wanted their money, Skyler used the laundered money to pay the tax burden. Walt is not amused. "You took it upon yourself to take $622,000 of my money to help a man who slept with my wife?" Saul tries to tap dance around the issue, saying that Walt and Skyler are both clients and he was trying to act as ethically as possible. First, even if these were legitimate transactions, Walt and Skyler are separate clients and pooled money is not assumed. Second: LOL. I love Saul, too, though not as much as Jesse or Mike. Walt is even less impressed with Saul's "ethical" explanation, but Saul's had enough of the drama associated with Walt's business dealings. Saul decides to end his business relationship with Walt. Walt walks around Saul's desk and gets inches aways from the two-bit lawyer's face. "We're done when I say we're done." That's not frightening.
Walt returns home and finds Skyler in the bedroom. She's silent again. Walt says he heard about what happened to Ted. Skyler assures her husband that Ted won't talk. The two hug. "I forgive you," Walt says.
Mike McComb – TVLatest.com
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